You should check an employee’s driving licence at least once a year. Best practice is to file a signed copy when an employee starts working for your organisation, then update the file every time you check their licence.

Managing a fleet is potentially hazardous. Safety legislation is getting tougher and tougher all the time, and rightly so.

It’s not just the drivers that will be held responsible for their actions should they end up in an accident. Employers can also face huge fines for serious health and safety offenses, especially if they cannot demonstrate rigorous internal safety procedures.

Checking employees have a valid driving licence is part of these procedures. Here’s everything you need to know about licence best practices.

How Often Should I Check My Employee’s Driving Licence?

You should be carrying out driving licence checks at least once a year. Penalty points can accumulate quickly, however. You may need to check certain drivers more regularly or apply a rule.

For example, some companies check drivers with a certain number of points on a more regular basis.

How Can I Check Someone’s Licence Online?

You can check someone’s driving licence information via the government website.

You’ll need the last 8 characters of their driving licence number and a check code from them. Obviously, this is only suitable for one-off checks, you can’t use this method when keeping track of a large fleet.

How Can I Check a Large Number of Driver’s Licences?

The DVLA has a service called the Access to Driver Data (ADD) Service.

ADD enables employers and businesses to check driver records and obtain the information instantly. It’s an expensive service, however, with approximate costs of £20,000 or more.

Does Checking Driving Licences Online Breach Data Protection Laws?

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has confirmed with the ACFO, the body responsible for fleet decision-makers, that no offence under the Data Protection Act is committed when employers check employees’ driving licence records with the DVLA.

You can either request to see an employee’s driving licence, give your employees a mandate to sign giving you permission to check their records, or lawfully do so without their knowledge.

How Important Is It to Check Your Drivers’ Licences?

Regular licence checks are crucial for organisations of all sizes to ensure ongoing compliance.

You should have procedures in place and written down for employee reference. You can set flags with your fleet management software to remind you when to check an individual’s licence.

Why Do Employers Check Driving Records?

The main reason is to ensure the member of staff is legally entitled to drive the type of vehicle allocated to them.

It would be nice if we lived in a world where we could ask drivers or rely on them to inform us what vehicles they can drive, when points are added to their licence, changes of address, etc.

Unfortunately, it’s quite the opposite. In 2017, the RAC carried out an insurance survey and found that 25% of motorists with penalty points on their licence did not tell their employers when they received them.

They also discovered that only 13% of those surveyed would voluntarily tell their employers when and if they incur any points.

What Are the Implications for Not Keeping Up-To-Date Licence Checks?

If a driver is involved in a serious road accident and it’s found that they were not lawfully entitled to be driving that vehicle, their employer can be held liable, at least in part.

This can result in millions in fines, as well as other forms of civil court actions.

In plain terms, the Road Traffic Act 1988 clearly states that it’s an offence for a driver to drive without a valid licence. The Act also states it’s an offence for a person or organisation to permit a driver to drive without a valid licence.

Having a robust system in place to check drivers’ licenses will help you catch someone without a valid licence. This will help prevent issues, which can ultimately save lives. As well as giving you a legal defence should the worst-case scenario happen.